Elevator Pitch: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How To Write It

In last week’s post, we talked about the importance of writing down your vision and guarding your influences. This week, we are discussing the short conversation starter known as an elevator pitch. US National Elevator Pitch Champion and Top 10 Business Coach, Chris Westfall says we need to ditch the old pitch idea. In this article, we will discuss what an elevator pitch is, why it is important, and how you can still craft on in a digital age.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short speech that invites people to have a conversation around the topic of who you are and what unique service you can offer them. Think of it as what you would say to a multi-millionaire investor if you had one minute alone with him in an elevator.

An elevator pitch is part persuasive story and part conversation starter that has three key components: introduction, summary with USP, and specific ask.

A good elevator pitch is important because it’s an effective way to demonstrate your professional aptitude, strengths and skills.

Indeed.com, “How to Give an Elevator Pitch With Examples”

Key Components of a Successful Pitch

Introduction

The introduction is where you invite the listener to start a conversation. Think of simple manners here; give your name and title then ask for theirs. This is something as simple as “Hi! My name is Rebecca Whitman. I’m a writer. What’s your name? What do you do?”

This is not the time to be timid; be bold and confident! Believe in yourself and be yourself. Since you are delivering this speech in-person, your body language is half of the selling point. Genuine interest in others and confidence in yourself will attract opportunity.

Summary with Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The summary is a synopsis of what you do and what makes you unique from others in your field. There is a whole separate art to crafting your USP that is worth researching. I found this article from Entrepreneur to be helpful in explaining it.

Part of being successful here is being introspective and curious, but the other part is being a good listener. Before the moment when you deploy your pitch, you should think about your ideal customer and what would make them choose you over everyone else on the market.

Sometimes this is a clever hook. For example, the founder of Revlon used to say he sold hope, not makeup. However, many times this is about listening to the person you are talking to and discerning, in that moment, how you can best serve their needs.

The New Elevator Pitch

US National Elevator Pitch Champion and Top 10 Business Coach, Chris Westfall says the internet and social media changed everything about how we should approach an elevator pitch. The new elevator pitch is all about knowing your story and how to have a conversation about it with others; ditch the old pitch idea, Westfall says.

As you listen, be truly present not just looking for an opportunity to sell yourself. Listen to what they do and how they express their interest, audience, and needs. Do you have a skill that can add value to their lives? Do you know someone that would be a good partnership with them?

Specific Ask

The specific ask is where you offer solutions and partnerships to the listener based on the problems they have expressed.

If I am listening to someone and they tell me that they are looking for a new cook for their restaurant, I am going to think of my friend who has been working in the industry and looking for a kitchen to call his own. I am going to tell that person about my friend and help facilitate a meeting for them to talk about working together.

If I am listening to someone and they tell me that they are unhappy with their marketing and the way their story has been told, I am going to give them my card and tell them how I can help them with my writing services. I am going to show them what I can offer that is different and unique from any other writer or reporter that comes wanting to tell their story.

Final Thoughts

It is tempting to shirk back from expressing yourself as a confident business person to a stranger. Sometimes you have to just have do it afraid, but the point is to do it. Have a mindset to network and add value to your community. You may not win an opportunity with every pitch, but you lose 100% of the opportunities if you don’t try.

By not even asking, we are rejecting ourselves by default—and probably missing out on opportunity as a result…

When you are not afraid of rejection and it feels like you have nothing to lose, amazing things can happen.

Jia Jiang, “Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection”

Remember to be brief and memorable. Great conversations leave an impression, but memorized speeches make you come off as a sleazy car salesman. At the same time, an excellent connection can become a missed opportunity if you don’t leave a way to connect later. This can be something as simple as a business card exchange, but be diligent to follow up with that person after the event where you met.

If you would like a more traditional approach to elevator pitches, you can find examples for every level of your growth and development in this article from YourDictionary.com. For more details about structure and avoiding common speech delivery mistakes, check out this article from Indeed.

Education: British Literature in Historical Perspective from the Victorian Period-Modern Times (1833-Present Day)

 

Previously on Historical Perspective…

The island of England has been invaded and conquered by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and French Normans. They have survived and adapted through a devastating plague, religious reform, and political unrest. They have risen to the challenge of bettering themselves through education and religion. The peasant class is no more as a rising middle class challenges the social order.

Now on Michael Wood’s Story of England: “Victoria to the Present Day”

Throughout this course, we will be journeying through time and space to visit the history of England as it was discovered in the town of Kibworth. Kibworth is a place that just so happens to hold archeological proof of life all the way back to the Romans as well as through every other major shift in civilization. To help us grasp the effects of history on common people, we will be watching this series throughout this course. Episodes will appear in this historical perspective lesson as they pertain to the section of history we are in. I hope you find the information enlightening and inspiring as I have.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1kxboa

 

 

 

Education: British Literature in Historical Perspective during the English Renaissance (1485-1833)

Previously on Historical Perspective…

The island of England has been invaded and conquered by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and French Normans. They have survived and adapted through a devastating plague and risen to the challenge of bettering themselves through education and religion. The peasant class is no more as a rising middle-class challenge the social order.

Now on Historical Perspective…

There was a lot going on in the world between 1485-1625, so it is no wonder that it is one of the most storied time in British history. Countless written works were produced during this time as well as about it–as well as many Oscar-winning movies. Two major movements influenced the thought and literature of this period: the Renaissance and the Reformation. The Renaissance, meaning “rebirth,” was characterized by innovations in art, science, and exploration, and a rediscovery of long-neglected classical works. Beginning in Italy, it gradually spread northward. Renaissance scholars of northern Europe, like Erasmus, attempted to reform the Catholic Church. The German theologian Martin Luther, however, initiated the movement known as the Reformation. The Reformation led to the founding of Protestantism. Luther stressed the Bible, rather than the Pope, as the source of authority and the importance of faith, rather than good works, for salvation. Of the two major English works of this period, Shakespeare’s plays and the King James Bible, the first is a product of the Renaissance and the second a product of the Reformation.

The Renaissance…sought to revive the learning of ancient Greece and Rome. It was a secular movement that encouraged voyages of discovery and emphasized human aspiration. During this period, the very dimensions of the world shifted and enlarged, as Europeans discovered new parts of the globe, and Polish scientist Nicolaus Copernicus first proposed that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. Everything exciting and enlightened seemed to be coming from Italy during this time. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, a painting still heavily guarded today, and Michelangelo painted the ceiling of Sistine Chapel, a wonder that thousands still travel to Rome to see. Shakespeare gave a nod to all this greatness by setting many of his plays in Italian locations. Renaissance ideas blossomed first in the Italian city-states from 1350-1550 and then slowly spread northward giving rise to the English Renaissance from 1485-1625.

The Reformation, inspired by the ideas of the German theologian Martin Luther from 1483-1546, began in part as a reaction against what many perceived as corruption in the Catholic Church. (Priests had become corrupted by money and power. They had been exhorting taxes from the people at increasing rates and were taking bribes from the rich to secure their place in Heaven.) Reformation thinkers wanted to return to what they took to be a more pure idea of Christianity. Once again, an attempt to return to early ideas led to something new, as reformers created a denomination of Christianity known as Protestantism.

England became swept up in both of these two wider European movements, sometimes in a dramatic, even bloody, fashion. In the late 1400s, England was beginning to heal after thirty years of civil war. By the early 1500s, the country had plunged into the religious controversies of the Reformation. At the same time, the spirit of the Renaissance breathed new life into the arts.

Henry Tutor

Henry Tutor Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library

The story begins in 1485, when Henry Tudor became King Henry VII, ending a civil war and reconciling the two factions in the war, the House of York and the House of Lancaster. With him began the reign of the Tudors. His son, Henry VIII, inherited a strong, stable country, but Henry VIII himself was not a strong man.

Henry VIII was a man easily swayed by his wants, and a man who feared what others said about him. He chose commoners to take positions of importance in the court because he thought he could trust them more than the nobles, but he turned on them as well. Anyone that did not please him was subject to torture, imprisonment, banishment, or beheading. He used his power to rule by force and take whomever he wanted. His court lived in constant fear of stepping out of his favor; it was a fear that would start unraveling the strong stability his father worked to create.

henryviii

Henry VIII

Henry VIII’s particular weakness was women, and he married and left six of them during his lifetime–in addition to countless mistresses. Henry VIII married his older brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, and she bore him a daughter, Mary. However, Henry then fell in love with Anne Boleyn, a beautiful lady of the court. He also wanted a male heir, which Catherine had not provided him. He, therefore, petitioned the Pope for a divorce on the grounds that his marriage to his brother’s widow was invalid.

Henry had written a treatise attacking Luther, and the Pope had designated Henry the “Defender of the Faith,” a title English monarchs retain to this day. However, when the Pope denied his petition to remarry, Henry refused to comply, marrying Anne Boleyn in 1533 and eventually severing all ties with Rome. In 1534, he established the Protestant Church of England with himself at its head. Religious affiliation and allegiance to the king were suddenly united.

To read more about Henry’s wives or the Tudor period, check out Lara Eakins’ website.

elizabeth i

Elizabeth I

The woman who was to become perhaps the greatest of England’s monarchs, Elizabeth I, was born to Henry and Anne Boleyn in 1533.

Before Elizabeth took the throne in 1558, Catholics and Protestants struggled for control of the country, and Elizabeth’s ascent to the throne was marked by turmoil and death. When Elizabeth took power, however, she firmly established England as a Protestant nation and ushered in a golden age of prosperity and peace.

The greatest threat to her rule came in 1588, when Catholic Spain assembled an armada, or fleet of warships, to conquer England. Elizabeth rallied her people, and the English fleet, aided by bad weather, shattered the armada. This glorious moment produced a surge of spirit and sense of power that swept the entire nation.

Elizabeth I never married and had no heir. The final days of her reign were clouded with questions of who would succeed her. In 1603, James I became her successor and the first of the ill-starred Stuart line. By the end of his reign, his struggles with Parliament foreshadowed the civil war that would come during the reign of his son, Charles I.

Now on Michael Wood’s Story of England: “Henry VIII to the Industrial Revolution”

Additional Sources: Google (images), & Pearson Education, Inc. Prentice Hall Literature:The British Tradition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2012. Pages 236-239

Education: British Literature in Historical Perspective from Old English-Medieval Period (449-1485)

They came to conquer and stayed to build. First, it was the Romans in A.D. 43 who drove the original Celtic inhabitants of Britain into the north (Scotland) and west (Wales) of the island. Then, in A.D.449, after the last Roman troops had been summoned home to defend Rome against the barbarian invaders, a group of Germanic tribes, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea and occupied the island the Romans had called Albion. In a short time, “Angle-land” became England.

The next incursion, in A.D.597, was more peaceful, led by the Roman cleric St. Augustine. He and his followers converted to Christianity the pagans who were there. The Bible of these Christians was written in Latin and they brought Latin learning with them.

In the eighth century, the Danes (Vikings) arrived. At first they raided and looted the towns and monasteries of the northeast, but eventually, they settled that area. In 871, when they tried to overrun the rest of the island, they were stopped by Alfred the Great, who is now considered the first King of England. The Danes, too, converted, assimilated, and gave us words like sky, skill, and skate.

The last successful invasion of England occurred in 1066 when the Duke of Normandy in France claimed and won the throne. Known as William the Conqueror, he brought his court and its language to the country he seized. For some time, England was a bilingual country of conquerors and conquered. In his novel Ivanhoe, which is set in the Middle Ages, the nineteenth-century writer Sir Walter Scott captures this duality: animals are swine, oxen, and calves on the hoof, but pork, beef, and veal in the kitchen of the noble Lord. Even today, we make a last will and testament, repeating the same meaning in Anglo-Saxon and Norman French, respectively.

The last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II, fought William of Normandy and died along with many Anglo-Saxon commoners-made-soldiers at The Battle of Hastings, a battle that is remembered and reenacted still today.

Michael Wood’s Story of England: “Romans to Normans”

Throughout this series about the historical perspective of British literature, we will be journeying through time and space to visit the history of England as it was discovered in the town of Kibworth. Kibworth is a place that just so happens to hold archeological proof of life all the way back to the Romans as well as through every other major shift in civilization. To help us grasp the effects of history on common people, we will be watching this series throughout this course. Episodes will appear in this historical perspective lesson as they pertain to the section of history we are in. I hope you find the information enlightening and inspiring as I have.

https://dailymotion.com/video/x1kx8t9

The island of England has been invaded and conquered by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and French Normans. They have survived and adapted through each change, but this last invasion threatens everything they know about their way of life.

Now the Normans brought more than their language to the island. They also brought a form of government, social order, and land tenure we call feudalism. This is a vision of the natural and human world as a triangle or pyramid. At the peak is the king and below, in carefully graded steps, are nobles and freemen, down to the serfs who till the land.

Yet all social systems are more fluid than they appear from the outside, and the feudal era in England was a tempestuous time. In 1215, a group of nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. This Great Charter, which limited the powers of the king, marks the beginning of parliamentary government in England. Other kings faced more violent opposition from the nobles and two of them, Edward II in 1327 and Richard II in 1399, were deposed and assassinated. The Black Death, a grim name for the plague, ravaged England in the 14th century and may have killed one-third of the population. Drained by an intermittent series of wars with France, which dragged out for more than one hundred years, England was then torn by a brutal civil war from 1455 to 1485.

At the end of England’s bloody civil war, Henry VII came to the throne and all of the forces that had shaped the island kingdom for a thousand years came together in a newly unified state. England was poised to participate in an incredible period of discovery and expansion.

They had come, the conquerors, warriors, and priests, the knights and serfs, the outlaws and the righteous, the men, the women, the children, and had settled an island that a glacier had sliced off the European continent. On that relatively small stretch of land, they created a country, a language, and literature that was to become one of the wonders of the world.

Source: Pearson Education, Inc. Prentice Hall Literature: The British Tradition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2012. Pages 4-5

Michael Wood’s Story of England: “The Great Famine and the Black Death”

https://dailymotion.com/video/x1kx8q6

The island of England has been invaded and conquered by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and French Normans. They have survived and adapted through each change, and they have developed into a country with a shared rule with its kings.

A devastating plague known as the Black Death has ravaged the country and taken approximately one-third of the population. Subsequent survivors faced further hardships as England went to war with France and with itself.

Now on Michael Wood’s Story of England: “Peasants’ Revolt to Tudors”

Those that survived the Black Death are anxious for change. They won’t sit still in the 14th century until they have it.

Additional Source: Pearson Education, Inc. Prentice Hall Literature: The British Tradition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2012. Pages 4-5

 

Discussion Board Blogging

After reading my post, How to Comment on a Blog, I instruct students to practice what they have learned by commenting on blogs. The following lesson is what I use to create a discussion board through existing blogs. Most of these blog writers are people I know and trust, so I do not have to worry about the content of what the students are reading; I know whatever they read will encourage good character and self-analysis.

Here are the instructions.

 

Read 15 posts from a blog(s) on the approved list of bloggers below. (You can use the same blogger for multiple posts if you like, but you can only use bloggers on the approved list for this assignment.)

Write a comment on each of the fifteen posts you chose to read and send it to the blogger. (Your posts should be visible in the author’s comment stream. Sometimes the comments are pending approval and will post within a few days. Most of these bloggers regularly blog and check their comments, so don’t be surprised if you hear back from them on your post. You will be notified by email using the email you used to log in and leave a comment. Be polite and respond back to them as necessary if you do hear from them. Networking with a writer is always a good thing, and your feedback as their reader is invaluable to them.)

Copy and paste the urls for the posts you commented in an email to your instructor for grading. You should have fifteen separate posts that you read and commented on by the end of this assignment. (This step will be used to follow up on your work and grade your assignment.)

 

Approved Blog List

https://rebeccawhitman.wordpress.com/

The personal blog of your teacher 😉 written intentionally to inspire and encourage the perspective that you are made for a purpose and greatly loved by God.

https://datingwithjesus.com/

The personal blog of a young career woman trying to date while honoring Christ as the focus of her life.

https://www.ransomedheart.com/blogs

The official blogs of well-known writers and speakers, John & Stasi Eldridge, and others.

http://thenobleheart.com/gary-barkalow/

http://thenobleheart.com/sam-williamson/

The official blogs of The Noble Heart ministries with Gary and Leigh Barkalow.

http://charlesmartinbooks.com/blog

The official blog of the professional fiction writer, Charles Martin.

https://onetahayes.com/

The personal blog of a well-educated teacher, wife, mom, and grandma.

http://www.heartofawarriorbook.com/the-warriors-heart/

The official blog of Michael Thompson, founder of Zoweh Ministries.

https://magnoliamarket.com/hearth-hand-with-magnolia/

The official blog of Chip and Joanna Gaines of Magnolia and the DIY show, Fixer Upper.

https://strength4spouses.blog/

The personal blog of a friend and military spouse offering advice and insight helpful to living married to a military person.

https://www.goingbeyond.com/

The official blog of noted public speaker and actress, Priscilla Shirer.

http://www.billrosespeaks.com/

The personal blog of a local preacher sharing frank insight into everyday issues and cultural commentary.

http://thekindlingfire.com/blog/

A collection of blogs by outdoorsmen and women actively pursuing God.

How to Comment on Blogs

Most authors today write blogs in addition to or in place of published books. Our learning and our reading are expanding at a rapid pace online. Bloggers rely on readership and comments. Readership is when someone likes or follows a blog and reads it faithfully. Comments are when someone reads a blog and writes a message to the blogger in response to the blog on the individual post itself. Readership is a key factor in growth but comments are often how bloggers perfect themselves in their craft.

As a blogger, I have seen all types of comments come into my blog. Some comments show more reflection than others. Take the following comment for example:

I didn’t know that quote about woman made from Adam’s rib was from Matthew Henry. It is a lot older than I thought. I thought it was more contemporary – since women’s lib /rights, etc. became prominent. Love the CS Lewis. Very good article you have written.

In this comment, the reader reflected that she had not only read my blog post, but she was also moved by it. The reader shared points that impressed her as well as her overall impression from the post. Sometimes a blog post can make you think of how it applies to you personally and inspire you to relate to the author. Take the following comment for example:

Much wisdom here. I think your prayers in the previous relationship were answered for your best good. The one who needed space was not the one for you. The breakup hurt, of course, but it ultimately made room for someone better. I remember needing time to work on my relationship with Jesus before I’d be ready for a healthy relationship. I didn’t realize that at the time, but God knew.

In this comment, the reader was relating with the author about what they were sharing about relationships. In both of these examples, the readers were interacting with the blogger through what I like to call “meaningful comments”.

What are meaningful comments?

Meaningful comments express how the reader is learning from the blogger and, in some ways, they reach out relationally to them. In these examples, the comments were encouraging the blogger and praising their work. However, not all meaningful comments are sharing praise. Take the following comment for example:

The part that stands out to me about the title of the blog is where it talks about how all the history of New Bern has basically been unchanged. I don’t know much about New Bern so everything it talks about is something new I’m learning about it. I like the fact that it tells you about all the old shops that are still in business. I wouldn’t mind visiting it, and trying out the Pepsi shop they have there. I can tell that the author seems to have been there before from the information I read. I would have probably talked about festivals or activities they have down there, so in that case more people would want to visit New Bern. You can probably get brochures and compare the information between the blog and the brochures. But the best person to talk to about it would more then likely be a tour guide because they’ve probably lived there their whole life.

In this comment, the reader seems a bit disconnected. His sentences are choppy and written more like he is talking to a wall than a real person. However, he does bring out some good critical points where the blogger could have done a better job with her post. Amidst his praise for the post, he was also offering constructive criticism about how it could be better. Though not all comments need to do this, it is especially helpful to a blogger when a reader does have insights like this to share because it gives the blogger something to better themselves in.

Occasionally, a blog post will end with questions. Those questions are an invitation to the reader to answer the questions in the comments and thereby continue the conversation. Questions can often be a good way to spark comments and they are intended to do just that.

Generally speaking, you should comment on blogs in complete sentences. Occasionally it is okay to include phrases in your response to a blog post. Before you press the send button, however, make sure you have not left out any words or misspelled anything; you want your meaning to be clear.